eMusic Gives You Less! (But Still More Than iTunes); Artists Still Screwed, of Course

It seems that all good things must either pass or worsen over time. eMusic, one of the world's better digital music retailers, has announced that they are reducing the amount of downloads you get with your monthly subscription.

Starting next month (just in time for Christmas!), eMusic will be offering MP3 downloads to their new subscribers at $0.33 or less per track, depending on which subscription the user chooses. Prior to the price increase, the same tracks would have cost $0.25 or less. The Basic package used to offer 40 tracks, and is being cut to 30, while the Plus and Premium packages are both being cut by 15 tracks per month.

Current eMusic subscribers, as well as those who sign up in the next few weeks, will continue paying the old rate.

Now, call me a picky consumer if you'd like, or even an anal accountant, but a 32% price increase seems a bit much. It's not like we're talking about copper commodities; these are less-than CD-quality digital files, with no inherit value other than sheer convenience and/or affordability (after all, you can't beat buying a copy of Yanqui U.X.O. for $1.00, can you?).

That said, with all the other greedy, DRM-happy music services such as iTunes, eMusic is still one of the best services out there for finding new independent talent. Let's face it, there are many people in this world who don't own an iPod and prefer to be able to open their files with several different programs (i.e. Foobar2000, Quintessential, Songbird.) So while a 32% price increase seems steep, the service is still worthwhile.